The Livelihoods Carbon Fund, an impact investment fund supported by private companies, and the Naandi foundation, an Indian NGO, join forces again to support 40,000 women and men farmers in their transition to sustainable farming. This large-scale project builds on the learnings of the first Livelihoods-Araku project which already planted 6 million trees and on the powerful links Naandi has been able to forge with the Araku farmers. Trees, pulses and millets, coffee, fodder, fuelwood: welcome in a collective movement where every square centimeter of 18,000 hectares of the Araku Valley will be transitioned to sustainable agricultural practices.
Why does it matter?
Adivasis, an Indian community, have been forest-dwellers since the dawn of time. Yet, over the years, exploitation of natural resources had degraded the lands and starkly pauperized the tribes. The region was facing the highest maternal mortality rate, illiteracy and no schools. 10 years ago, with the support of Naandi Foundation, the Livelihoods Carbon Fund and India’s Mahindra Group, Araku farmers started restoring their most precious wealth: their forest. With hard work, courage and determination, they have already planted more than 10 million forest, fruit and coffee trees that have given a new lease of life to their region.
How does it work?
The Adivasis, the Naandi Foundation and the Livelihoods Carbon Fund have designed a project which will cover all the plantation systems of the valley: coffee as the main cash crop, pulses and millet for food and nutrition, fodder for the animals, woodlots for fuelwood and reforestation of barren lands. The implementation of Sustainable Agriculture and Land Management (SALM) practices throughout these 5 systems will enable the restoration of the biodiverse and functional natural environment for the years to come. The SALM practices will be the guiding principle of the landscape approach of the Livelihoods- Araku #2 project. The practices will include green manuring, composting, nutrient management, crop rotation, agroforestry, low tillage, boundary and shade planting…
How does this project create value?
The project will improve the farmers revenues, increase their food security and preserve their valley. It will also foster local entrepreneurship with the creation of tree nurseries, and bio-centers producing natural fertilizers and liquid manure in all villages. Composting units will also be built as the SALM practices will require around 900 tons of compost each year. These activities will offer new economic opportunities to the farmers to improve their income but also to ensure the permanence of technical skills in the villages.
Photo credit: © David Hogg